I remember clearly the frustration my friend and I felt at the dearth of global health organizations on campus. As we began to be introduced to more nuanced perspectives on the nature of global health, suddenly our already scant array of options began to look at best ineffectual, and at worst harmful for the communities they worked in. What structural factors were being overlooked in these programs that were designed to be short-term? As we saw it (and still see it), the field of global health is plagued by the remnants of colonialism and the contemporary pitfalls of oppressive global structures that are often made invisible by the very sentimentality that drives people to help. Yes, we must act because it’s right and there’s no time to lose, but we must also develop deeper understandings of the people, the place, and most importantly ourselves if we do not want to perpetuate existing dynamics of power to the detriment of the communities we hope to serve. We were searching for an organization that understood this fundamentally. We found it in GlobeMed.
GlobeMed, within its organizational foundation, represents the way in which I hope to live my life. Intensely introspective and unafraid to challenge itself to be better, I felt an understanding of – or at least the desire to understand – the complexity of reality within its spaces. Even as we collectively struggled with accepting this notion, we always found our way back to this ethos. But existing in this space between theory and practice is not easy. The bridge between the two seems vast in the abstract, and when confronted with real-world decisions it more often than not it is only visible after a course of action has already been taken. Yet GlobeMed’s dogged commitment to do better by understanding better inspires hope in me. Of course, this culture is made and shaped by the incredible members I had the privilege of working with. Though at times our work felt disconnected and unnecessarily challenging, I think with fondness of the willingness of members to be critical and push further; to see the work done with humility. I will miss the community GlobeMed provided for me, the people that kept me constantly reimagining a better world. But I know that I will never forget them; that they are my community and that they will continue to push me to be a better person. So, thank you to the people that made up GlobeMed at UC Berkeley for everything you have given me. You will quite literally change the world.
About The Global Health Soap Box
This blog evokes the spirit of UC Berkeley -- the home of the Free Speech Movement. The Global Heath Soap Box provides a platform for GlobeMed at Berkeley chapter members to explore and discuss their thoughts on relevant public health issues. Whether it's an expansion on what we discuss in ghUs or a topic of interest--The Global Health Soap Box covers a wide range of topics.